Men's MAC Tournament Preview

Updated 1/12/2000
MAC TOURNAMENT: The 20th Mid-American Conference Tournament moves to Cleveland's Gund Arena for Sunday's quarter-final round. The venue will tip-off at noon with #1 seed Bowling Green facing a challenge from #9 seed Miami. The Marshall versus Central Michigan matchup will begin 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game. At 7:00, West Division co-champions #2 Ball State and #7 Toledo square off with #3 Kent and #6 Ohio taking the court 30 minutes after the end of that game. The semifinals are slated to begin at 7:00 Monday night and the championship game on Wednesday at 7:00. Kent is the defending champion, having defeated Marshall, Ohio and Miami last year to earn the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. Bowling Green goes into this year's tournament as the #1 seed after having won its first outright MAC championship since 1983.


#1 Bowling Green (22-6, 14-4) vs. #9 Miami (13-14, 8-10)
Coaches: Miami-Charlie Coles (Miami 1965) 75-43/fourth year; Dan Dakich (Indiana 1985) 50-32/third year
Series: Miami leads 43-31. Last Meeting: BG 66, Miami 60, Jan. 12, 2000.
MAC Tournament Records: Miami 21-15; BG 11-17.
Winner will play: The winner of the Marshall-Central Michigan game at 7:00 on Monday.
Notes: The Falcons have posted a 30-8 record dating back to last year, when they came within an eyelash of beating Miami in the tournament semifinals. This year's Falcon squad has two six-game winning streak and a five-game winning streak. BG leads the MAC in field goal percentage at 50.3% and ranks among the top teams in the nation. The Falcons are led by senior Anthony Stacey, who tops the team with a 16.8 scoring average and also contributes 5.9 rebounds a game. Stacey's heroics this season include a game-winning basket with 1.1 seconds left to beat Akron 73-72. BG features three regular players shooting above 50% from the field - Len Matela (63.6%), Dave Esterkamp (57.1%) and Trent Jackson (54.4%). Four BG players are in double figures in points, besides Stacey (16.8), there is Keith McLeod (13.3), Esterkamp (13.2) and Matela (12.9). McLeod also leads the MAC in three-point percentage (49.5%). Miami's 64-51 road win at Eastern Michigan propelled the RedHawks into the quarterfinals. Anthony Taylor's 23 points sparked Miami's triumph and Jason Stewart added 17. The win was Miami's second in a row after four losses prior to that those wins. Taylor (17.6) and Stewart (11.4) are the only Miami players to average double figures in points. Refiloe Lethunya (6.4) and Mike Ensminger (6.0) carry the bulk of the rebounding chores. Jason Grunkemeyer is shooting 45.7% from three-point range, second best in the MAC, and will be a key to Miami's success.

MAC Stats	Miami		BG
Points		64.3 (13)	76.5 (2)
Pt. allowed	63.2 (1)	70.6 (7)
FG pct.		42.1 (11)	50.3 (1)
FG pct. Def.	43.6 (8)	44.4 (10)
FT pct.		73.2 (4)	74.4 (3)
3 FG pct.	36.3 (4)	37.3 (3)
Reb. Margin	-0.9 (9)	0.0 (7)
Blocked shots	1.9 (12)	1.9 (11)
Steals		5.1 (13)	6.8 (10)
Assists		12.1 (13)	16.1 (2)
Assist-TO Ratio	1.1 (5)		1.1 (4)
TO Margin	+1.44 (6)	+0.82 (7)


#2 Ball State (19-8, 11-7) vs. #7 Toledo (18-12, 11-7)
Coaches: BSU-Ray McCallum (Ball State 1983) 123-75/7th year; UT-Stan Joplin (Toledo 1979) 65-47/fourth year.
Series: Toledo leads 31-25. Last Meeting: UT 66, BSU 61, Feb. 16, 2000.
MAC Tournament Records: BSU 28-12; UT 13-14.
Winner will play: The winner of the Kent-Ohio at 9:00 Monday at Gund Arena.
Notes: The Cardinals won the tiebreaker with their West Division co-champion counterpart Rockets as the #2 seed. BSU has won three games in a row and eight of their last nine games. But their streak is no match for the Rockets, who have won a league high 11 consecutive games. Toledo's resurgence has been sparked by the return of forward Greg Stempin, who missed five games with an elbow injury. Since his return Toledo has not lost. Included in that streak is a 68-64 double overtime win against Northern Illinois in a first-round MAC Tournament game. Stempin leads the team in scoring (15.8) and rebounding (8.2). Chad Kamstra can light it up as evidenced by his school record 84 three-point field goals and his 13.8 points per game. Justin Hall's all-around play shows 14.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg and a team-high 93 assists. Ball State's inside game features three of the league's top 14 rebounders in freshman Theron Smith (fifth 7.9) and sophomores Josh Murray (10th 6.7) and Lonnie Jones (14th 6.3). Guard Duane Clemens ranks fifth in the league in scoring at 18.5 ppg. Cardinals' guard Mickey Hosier has the league's third best assist-turnover ratio at 2.44 (100 assists-41 turnovers). Toledo is the only team to beat Ball State in the Cardinals last nine games. Ball State is the only MAC team to have a win over a ranked team this year when they beat then #24 ranked Purdue 72-52 in December.

MAC Stats	UT		BSU
Points		71.1 (9)	75.9 (5)
Pt. allowed	68.9 (5)	69.8 (6)
FG pct.		43.6 (8)	45.6 (4)
FG pct. Def.	42.1 (2)	43.2 (5)
FT pct.		68.4 (8)	62.4 (13)
3-FG Pct.	35.0 (7)	39.9 (2)
Reb. Margin	+3.3 (3)	-0.6 (8)
Blocked shots	2.2 (10)	4.2 (3)
Steals		6.5 (11)	8.3 (3)
Assists		13.7 (9)	14.4 (7)


#3 Kent (21-6, 13-5) vs. #6 Ohio (19-12, 11-7)
Coaches: Ohio-Larry Hunter (Ohio 1971) 185-136/11th year; Kent-Gary Waters (Ferris State 1975) 66-48/fourth year
Series: Ohio leads 77-27. Last Meeting: Ohio 81, Kent 71, Feb. 26, 2000.
MAC Tournament Records: Ohio 15-15 Kent 11-16
Winner will play: The winner of the Toledo-Ball State game at 9:00 Monday at Gund Arena.
Notes: The Bobcats are playing maybe their best ball of the year. Prior to its opening round dusting of Western Michigan, 77-52, Ohio captured a 10-point win over Kent. The Bobcats have won four in a row and have shot 57.1% (61-of-104) the last two games. Ohio's Shaun Stonerook is listed among the MAC leaders in scoring (12th 15.7), rebounding (first 11.8), assists (sixth 4.2), free throw percentage (14th 72.6) and steals (eighth 1.7). Freshman Brandon Hunter has shot 69.6% (16-of-23) in the last two games. The Bobcats have shot both a season-high 60% and a season low of 29% from the field in their two games against Kent. The Golden Flashes are the defending tournament champions but have lost two of their last three games. Trevor Huffman has the distinction of being the only player in the nation to lead his team in scoring (13.0) and assists (125) without starting a game. Huffman is listed second in the MAC in free throw percentage (84.2%) and fifth in assists per game (4.6). Center John Whorton has the best field goal percentage in the MAC (63.0%) and averages 12.9 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Kent features seven players averaging 7.0 or more and eight players with 15 minutes or more per game. This will be the 105th meeting between the schools in a series dating back to 1949. Kent did not lose two games in a row all season and came back from a 16-0 deficit at Texas-El Paso to win the Miners' Tournament in late December.

MAC Stats	Ohio		Kent
Points		72.6 (7)	75.9 (4)
Pt. allowed	68.3 (3)	65.4 (2)
FG pct.		43.6 (9)	46.1 (3)
FG pct. Def.	42.4 (3)	43.2 (6)
FT pct.		67.1 (10)	75.1 (2)
3-FG Pct.	34.7 (8)	35.9 (6)
Reb. Margin	+6.0 (1)	+2.4 (5)
Blocked shots	3.2 (6)		3.4 (5)
Steals		7.4 (7)		8.6 (1)
Assists		16.0 (4)	16.04 (3)
Assist-TO Ratio	0.93 (8)	1.15 (2)
TO Margin	-1.42 (11)	+3.93 (1)


#5 Marshall (20-8, 11-7) vs. #13 Central Michigan (5-22, 2-16)
Coaches: CMU-Jay Smith (Saginaw Valley 1981) 21-59/third year; Marshall-Greg White (Marshall 1977) 67-44/fourth year.
Series: Marshall leads 6-1. Last Meeting: Marshall 83, CMU 67, Dec. 30, 1999.
MAC Tournament Records: CMU 6-6; Marshall 1-2.
Winner will play: The winner of the Bowling Green-Miami game at 7:00 p.m. Monday at Gund Arena.
Notes: Central is coming off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history with a first-round shocker of Akron, 73-71 on the Zips' home floor. CMU was 0-9 on the road in MAC games during the regular season. But Wednesday night in Akron, the Chippewas received 24 points from sophomore David Webber and 15 from freshman Chad Pleiness. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak and a 12-game road losing streak. Webber, whose 51 points against Ball State on is the second most in the nation this year, is the only CMU player to average double figures in points (19.1). Marshall won its 20th game of the year, reaching the 20-win plateau for the first time since rejoining the MAC two years ago. Buffalo was an 83-66 victim of the Herd. Center J.R. VanHoose paced Marshall with 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. The league's leading scorer, Tamar Slay, responded with 17 points while teammates Cornelius Jackson added 11 and Travis Young 10. Marshall has won five of its last six games. Marshall features the league leader in scoring (Slay 20.2) and assists (Jackson 7.3), and VanHoose is one of two players in the MAC to rank in the top 10 in scoring (sixth 17.7) and rebounding (third 8.7)

MAC Stats	CMU		Mar
Points		68.9 (11)	82.9 (1)
Pt. allowed	75.6 (11)	74.7 (10))
FG pct.		44.0 (6)	48.1 (2)
FG pct. Def.	45.6 (11)	43.9 (9)
FT pct.		68.7 (9)	70.3 (5)
3-FG Pct.	36.2 (5)	40.2 (1)
Reb. Margin	-6.2 (12)	+0.2 (6)
Blocked shots	1.57 (13)	3.89 (4)
Steals		6.2 (12)	8.36 (2)
Assists		14.5 (6)	16.5 (1)
Assist-TO Ratio	1.01 (7)	1.18 (1)
TO Margin	+2.18 (4)	+2.39 (3)

The 2000 MAC All-Freshman Team (as voted on by league coaches)
Player		School		Ht.	Hometown/High School
Andy Hipsher	Akron		6-8	Akron, Ohio/Archbishop
Theron Smith	Ball State	6-8	Auburndale, Fla./Auburndale
Chad Pleiness	Central Michigan6-6	Scottville, Mich./Mason County Central
C.J. Grantham	Eastern Michigan5-9	Belleville, Mich./Belleville
Brandon Hunter	Ohio		6-7	Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow

The All-MAC team will be announced on March 7. The Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Freshman of the Year will be announced March 9.